Dr Ann Clemens

Our work is focused on understanding the neural circuit mechanisms underlying social behaviour from an ethological perspective.

Dr Ann Clemens

Simons ESAT Fellow

1 George Square 



Contact details

 Email: aclemens@ed.ac.uk 

 Web: kinshiplab.org

Personal profile

Research experience & education:

  • Simons ESAT Fellow, University of Edinburgh, UK, 2020 – present
  • Honorary Lecturer, University College London, Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, UK, 2023 – present
  • Faculty of the Neural Systems & Behavior Course, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, USA, 2016 – present
  • Faculty of the Transylvanian Experimental Neuroscience Summer School, The Pike Lake, Transylvania, Romania, 2022 – present
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Humboldt University of Berlin, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Berlin, Germany, 2014 – 2020
  • PhD in Neuroscience, The University of Texas at Austin, Center for Learning and Memory, USA, 2013
  • Methods in Computational Neuroscience, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, USA, 2008
  • Ion Channel Physiology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA, 2007
  • BS in Neurobiology, The University of Texas at Austin, USA, 2005
  • Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Fellowship, The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, 2005 – 2006

Honors & awards:

  • Grass Fellowship, The Grass Foundation, USA, 2020
  • Best Presentation Award, FENS Winter School on Neural Control of Instinctive and Innate Behaviour, 2019
  • Best Presentation Award, FENS Brain Meeting on The Necessity of Cell Types for Brain Function, 2018
  • Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award, The National Institutes of Health, 2005

Research Theme

Synapses, Circuits and Behaviour


Our work is focused on understanding the sensory and circuit mechanisms underlying social behaviour from an ethological perspective. We examine the stages of social-sensory processing beginning with recognition and ending with social attachment. In between, we hope to disentangle both innate and learned aspects of kinship social behaviour by probing and observing the dynamics of the underlying neural circuits.

We use a variety of techniques to achieve these goals: in vivo and in vitro extracellular and whole-cell patch clamp recordings; large-scale multi-area electrophysiology and imaging with freely-moving behaviour; viral mediated connectivity and functional analyses; anatomical and histochemical analysis of functionally characterised neurons. We also have an interest in cross-disciplinary collaborations in the fields of evolutionary biology and psychology.


Team members

  • Florbela da Rocha Almeida
  • Zuzanna Baran


  • Ellie Pinkerton
  • Michelle Vesser
  • Grace Chattey
  • Hugh Takemoto
  • Connie Yung


Selected publications

Triumph-Attah A.*, Negron-Moreno P. *, Amigo-Duran M. *, Zhang L. *, Kenngott M. *, Brecht M. ¥, Clemens A.M. ¥. Rat Wetness Response: Sensory Cues, Behavior & Fur-mechanisms. BioRxiv. 2023.

Mugnaini M.*, Mehrotra D. *, Davoine F. *, Sharma V. *, Mendes A.R. *, Gerhardt B., Concha-Miranda M., Brecht M. ¥Clemens A.M. ¥. Supra-orbital whiskers act as wind sensing antennae in rats. PLOS Biology. 2023. 

Jiménez-Sánchez L., Ginnell L., O’Carroll S., Ledsham V., Stoye D.Q., Sullivan G., Hall J., Clemens A.M., Boardman J.P., Fletcher-Watson S. Early life attachment in term and preterm born infants. medRxiv. 2022.

Clemens A.M., Khodakhah K., Fenton, A. Navigating clues to success in academia. Neuron. 2021.

Clemens A.M. ¥ and Brecht M. Neural Representations of Kinship. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2021.

Dennis E.J., El Hady A., Michaiel A., Clemens A., Tervo D., Voigts J., Datta S. Systems neuroscience of natural behaviors in rodents. Journal of Neuroscience. 2021.

Yuste, R., Hawrylycz, M., Aalling, N., Arendt, D., Armananzas, R., Ascoli, G., Bielza, C., Bokharaie, V., Bergmann, T., Bystron, I., Capogna, M., Chang, Y., Clemens, A., …. Zeng, H., Lein, E.S. A community-based transcriptomics classification and nomenclature of neocortical cell types. Nature Neuroscience. 2020.

Clemens, A.M.¥, Wang, H., Brecht, M. ¥ The lateral septum mediates kinship behavior in the rat.  Nature Communications. 2020.

Clemens, A.M., Lenschow, C., Beed, P., Li, L., Sammons, R., Naumann, R.K., Wang, H., Schmitz, D., Brecht, M. Estrus-Cycle Regulation of Cortical Inhibition**. Current Biology. 2019.

Clemens A.M.*, Delgado Y.F.*, Mehlman M.L.*, Mishra P.* and Brecht M. Multisensory and Motor Representation of Rat Oral Somatosensory Cortex. Scientific Reports. 2018.

Clemens A.M. and Johnston D. Age- and location-dependent differences in store depletion induced h-channel plasticity in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology, 2013.

Kim J., Nadal M.S., Clemens A.M., Baron M., Jung S.C., Misumi Y., Rudy B., Hoffman D.A. Kv4 accessory protein DPPX is a critical regulator of membrane excitability in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2008.

Kim J., Jung S.C, Clemens A.M., Petralia R.S., Hoffman D.A. Regulation of dendritic excitability by activity-dependent trafficking of the A-type K+ channel subunit Kv4.2 in hippocampal neurons. Neuron, 2007.


¥ Corresponding author

** News and Views: Delevich, K., Piekarski, D., Wilbrecht, L. Sex Hormones at Work in the Neocortex. Current Biology, 2019.

* Equal contribution of authors

Information for students:

Willingness to discuss research projects with undergraduate and postgraduate students: YES - please click here